Gorée island – a tiny paradise island with big, flower adorned villas just 20 minutes sailing through turquoise waters out from Dakar.
This was the last stop for an incredible amount of people (how many is contested) before either dying deep in the belly of hell ships crossing the Atlantic, or surviving to live undescribable horrors in the Americas and the Carribbean.
The slave castle is open for visitors, you can go inside the cells – separated in young girls, women, men, children and trouble makers – and listen to the waves outside and the somber echos of history. The silence is haunting even with the noise of the other tourists, the selfie flashes and tour guides.
Upstairs the colonizers’ area with sweeping ocean views and wooden floors has been transformed into a modest and impressive exposition telling the history of slavery, including the effect on the communities losing large part of their able bodied members.
There are a few items on display, mainly different types of foot, neck and wrist locks, just like in the movies – except they are as real as a slap in the face.
On the wall outside is a dedication to all the people who were affected by crimes of slavery, and outside the castle a monument celebrating the liberation from slavery, donated by Guadalupe.
I wish something like this would be in any major European city of any country which was involved in the transatlantic slave trade – as well as everywhere which was receiving people in the West, just like there are many beautiful memorials honouring victims of nazism or the USSR regime. Its too easy to brush over history when it happens far away, or when it happens to a people we are not done dehumanizing through all different kinds of racism.